EPIC, along with Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering (CASPIAN) and other leading privacy and civl liberties organizations, issued a Position Paper on the Use of RFID in Schools. Radio Frequency Identification is an identification tracking technology “designed to monitor physical objects,” such as commercial products, vehicles, and animals. Some school districts are proposing to use RFID ID tags to monitor students, teachers, and staff. The report warns of significant privacy and security risks. If RFID techniques are adopted, the groups urge that schools adopt robust privacy safeguards. In 2006 and 2007, EPIC submitted comments to federal agencies recommending against the use of RFID technology to track air travelers. The State Department subsequently made changes to the “e-Passport,” to address privacy and security concerns. For more information, seeEPIC: Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Systems and EPIC: Student Privacy
Chipping students is a topic I’ve blogged about a number of times, and the schools that are using it are, for the most part, using it to (1) boost school revenues by gaining better attendance records for state reimbursement or (2) claiming that the tracking provides another layer of safety by knowing where the student is. While some parents have objected to the tracking, many others report that they like the idea. Personally, I think it’s a terrible idea as it inoculates youth to feeling that they are under constant surveillance.